This is an extraordinary
book about race relations in
When I put The Miner's Canary down, I wished I had read the Acknowledgments first, then the chapter "by" Torres. The book is a difficult read, and it has many authors. It is in the best sense of the term a collaborative effort.
The voice I identify as that of Lani Guinier* seems sometimes to address junior high school students and other times to address law professors. So the book has many levels of analysis, and it treats its central topic "political race" -- from many angles. These are not shortcomings, but they add up to a very demanding book.
The book's real-life examples, however, are all wonderful and all one -- compelling and utterly elucidating. And the long illustration of how Greek democracy in action would look if it followed American districting and apportionment rules is simply surpassing wonderful.
Then there's the book's
immediacy. Prominent economic historian Robert Fogel has emphasized the roles
of technology and religious activism in
The ambition, originality and insights of this book far outweigh its difficulties due to multiple voices and an "un-ironed out" presentation. Read it and find out what "political race" is, or at least what it was five years ago. You won't regret it.
*Footnote: Lani Guinier (born April 19, 1950) is an American civil rights scholar. The first black woman tenured professor at Harvard Law School, Guinier's work includes professional responsibilities of public lawyers, the relationship between democracy and the law, the role of race and gender in the political process, equity in college admissions, and affirmative action. (From Wikipedia's Lani Guinier entry)